By Anna Husted EBS Film Critic

Lone Peak Cinema hosts one terrifyingly great festival over one weekend, packed with a year’s worth of horror films. Lone Peak Horrorfest begins Friday, Oct. 26, with two secret outdoor showings for anyone who purchases a weekend festival pass and concludes Sunday, Oct. 28, with “Begotten,” accompanied by local band Artists of Antiquity.

Now in its third year, Horrorfest will focus on the heroines of horror spotlighting Jamie Lee Curtis’ newest film “Halloween.” Curtis contributed, and some argue started, the notion of the “final girl,” a horror film trope created by film theorist Carol J. Clover in 1992. The “final girl” is key in talking about why the last person alive in horror films is often a woman, and a virgin at that.

Other notable heroines of horror include five British babes in “The Descent,” a film not really about cave exploration, but about exploration of one’s deepest dark desires. Then check out a woman long a part of the horror establishment, Elsa Lanchester, in “Bride of Frankenstein,” or ‘90s heroine Christina Ricci in “Casper,” both playing Saturday afternoon.

For family friendly showings look for Nicolas Roeg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic book “The Witches” starring Angelica Houston in one of her most iconic roles, playing Sunday afternoon. Or see the double feature of the Grinch, who is famous for stealing Christmas, as he takes on Halloween in “Halloween is Grinch Night” followed by one of the best animated films of all time “Monster House,” featuring a fantastic redheaded heroine.

If B-level horror is not your thing, take some time to enjoy the foreign film selection featuring French director Alexandre Aja of “The Hills Have Eyes” with his second feature film, “High Tension,” about best friends Marie and Alexia who vacation to a farmhouse, which never bodes well for characters in a horror movie. Also playing in the foreign film category is the Japanese film “Machine Girl,” about a girl with a machine gun arm seeking revenge for her family.

New this year is the Horrorfest Panel, which will lead audience discussions after showings of “Poltergeist,” “Mandy,” and “The Descent.” “Mandy” was released in September by filmmaker Panos Costamos who has not released a film since his 2010 debut film “Beyond the Black Rainbow.” Anyone who has not seen “Poltergeist” since its release in June 1982 should revisit the family suburban haunting for its relevance in today’s world where we carry computers and television screens in our pockets.

Sunday evening’s primetime spot is filled by yet another leading lady of exorcisms and thrills, Toni Collette, in “Hereditary,” which saw short play in Bozeman, but deserves a bit more attention, as it will no doubt go down as one of the best horror films of all time.

Horror films are not to be feared despite their reputation, and are often the best speakers of the times we live in, so pay attention to what this year’s films might be saying to you.

Anna Husted has a master’s in film studies from New York University. In Big Sky she can be found at the movies at Lone Peak Cinema or hiking up a mountain. When not gazing at the silver screen or watching her new favorite TV show, she’s running, fishing or roughhousing with her cat, Indiana Jones.